US Recognizes the Armenian Genocide

The House of Representatives of the United States of America with an overwhelmingly majority of votes- 405 for and 11 against -adopted Resolution 296 recognizing the Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey, 1915-1923.

The resolution calls on the US government to “commemorate the Armenian Genocide through official recognition and remembrance” and to “reject” Turkish efforts to deny it. It says the government should also “encourage education and public understanding of the facts of the Armenian Genocide” and their “relevance to modern-day crimes against humanity.”

This was a historical move for the American Armenians, demanding the recognition by the United States for the last decades. The past attempts of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide failed because of fears that such recognition would endanger US relations with key strategic NATO ally Turkey, thus ignoring the promises given to the American Armenians by the presidential candidates Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama to recognize the genocide if elected president. However, 49 out of 50 States recognized the Armenian Genocide (the exclusion being Mississippi).

The plan of the resolution was lobbied by the two biggest American-Armenian lobby organizations, Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) and Armenian Assembly of America. Jewish lobby organizations such as American Jewish Committee (AJC) and Anti-Defamation League (ADL) supported the efforts by the American-Armenian Lobbyists.

American-Armenian celebrities such as Kim Kardashian-West and Serj Tankian promoted the topic on their social-media pages urging the American-Armenians to campaign, calling on their representatives at the House to vote in favor of the resolution.

The resolution was adopted on a symbolical day, October 29, the 96th Anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic.

Turkish officials already condemned the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu strongly condemned the resolution, tweeting: "Those whose projects were frustrated turn to antiquated resolutions. Circles believing that they will take revenge this way are mistaken. This shameful decision of those exploiting history in politics is null and void for our government and people."

Cavusoglu added: “Undoubtedly, this resolution will negatively affect the image of the US before the public opinion of Turkey as it also brings the dignity of the US House of Representatives into disrepute.”

On Wednesday, the US Ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield, was summoned by the Turkish foreign minister over the vote, the state-run news agency Anadolu reported.

The head of the Public Affairs department of the administration of Turkish President Erdogan tweeted: “The US House of Representatives vote on the Armenian Resolution is deeply troublesome for anyone who cares about the US-Turkey relationship. Those who voted for this resolution will be responsible for the deterioration of a critical strategic relationship in a turbulent region.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry also summoned the American Ambassador to Turkey regarding the adopted resolution.

Conversely, Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan saluted the historical decision of the US House of Representatives, tweeting “I salute the US Congress historic vote recognizing the Armenian Genocide. Resolution 296 is a bold step towards serving truth and historical #justice that also offers comfort to millions of descendants of the Armenian Genocide survivors. My heartfelt congratulations to my Armenian compatriots all over the world and admiration to generations of Armenian-Americans whose selfless activism and perseverance were the driving force and the inspiration behind today’s historic vote”

The speaker of the House of Representative Nancy Pelosi also tweeted on the topic, saying “Too often, the tragic reality of the Armenian Genocide has been denied. Today, an overwhelming bipartisan vote of the House ensured that the truth will forever be etched into the Congressional Record”.

The recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the United States of America was respected as a historical moment by the representatives of worldwide Armenian Diaspora, as it is believed it will bring to global recognition. About three dozen states recognized the fact of the Armenian Genocide, including Russia, France, Germany, Austria, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, Greece, and Italy.

Georgia has yet to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

By Karen Tovmasyan

30 October 2019 16:16